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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 1.2015


Overview of cancer treatments Clinical trials

Clinical trials

New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the

public as soon as they’re made. They first need to

be studied. A clinical trial is a type of research that

studies a test or treatment.

Clinical trials study how safe and helpful tests and

treatments are. When found to be safe and helpful,

they may become tomorrow’s standard of care.

Because of clinical trials, the tests and treatments in

this book are now widely used to help people with

Hodgkin lymphoma. Future tests and treatments

that may have better results than today’s treatments

depend on clinical trials.

New tests and treatments go through a series of

clinical trials to make sure they’re safe and work.

Without clinical trials, there is no way to know if a

test or treatment is safe or helpful. Clinical trials have

four phases. Some examples of the four phases of

treatment are:

• Phase I trials – aim to find the best dose of a

new drug with the fewest side effects.

• Phase II trials – assess if a drug works for a

specific type of cancer.

• Phase III trials – compare a new drug to the

standard treatment.

• Phase IV trials – test new drugs approved by

the U.S. FDA (


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in many patients with different types of cancer.

Joining a clinical trial has benefits. First, you’ll have

access to the most current cancer care. Second, you

will receive the best management of care. Third, the

results of your treatment—both good and bad—will be

carefully tracked. Fourth, you may help other people

who will have cancer in the future.

Clinical trials have risks, too. Like any test or

treatment, there may be side effects. Also, new tests

or treatments may not help. Another downside may

be that paperwork or more trips to the hospital are


To join a clinical trial, you must meet the conditions

of the study. Patients in a clinical trial are often alike

in terms of their cancer and general health. This is to

know that any progress is because of the treatment

and not because of differences between patients.

To join, you’ll need to review and sign a paper called

an informed consent form. This form describes the

study in detail. The study’s risks and benefits should

be described and may include others than those

described earlier.

Ask your treatment team if there is an open clinical

trial that you can join. There may be clinical trials

where you’re getting treatment or at other treatment

centers nearby. You can also find clinical trials

through the websites listed in Part 6.